Ever since Cidell enrolled in a pattern drafting class, I've been longing to do the same. There aren't a lot of pattern drafting classes around - even in a city as large as Philadelphia. The only pattern drafting classes I found were requirements for degree programs at local colleges and only for matriculating students. Philadelphia University, (formerly called Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences - with textiles in the name, I expected more) offered a certificate program in Industrial Sewing Methods with classes on Saturday mornings, and I enrolled several years ago. My daughter was younger then, and had soccer games and Girl Scout activities on Saturdays. After I missed most of a championship soccer game (which went into overtime and sudden death), I felt guilty and withdrew from the program. My daughter is all grown up now and I'm free to enroll again if I choose - without the guilt! In addition, the program has moved to Drexel University, which is closer to me. Back when I was enrolled, the program focused on fitting and construction, and not specifically on pattern making.
So, I am embarking on a journey to teach myself pattern making. I already own two books on patternmaking. Considering the cost of two well-known books; $99 for Patternmaking Made Easy (Amaden-Crawford, 2007) and $85 for Patternmaking for Fashion Design (Armstrong, 2005) , I can make the two books I already own work for me. Actually, the two books complement each other. Make Your Own Patterns (Bergh, 2006) is short on theory, but has clear step-by-step directions and excellent diagrams. How to Make Sewing Patterns (McCunn, 1977) has more theory, but it's line drawings are confusing. Both use the same approach - draft basic patterns according to your measurements and use the basic pattern as a template for making custom designs. The McCunn book has a section on taking your own measurements that will be particularly helpful for me, but I'll be depending more on Bergh for the actual patternmaking. I checked out How to Design Your Own Dress Patterns (Margolis, 1971) from the library. Margolis included exercises in manipulating quarter-scale pattern pieces. Manipulating the quarter-scale patterns helped me understand the theory and gain confidence. Neither Bergh nor McCunn included these exercises.
I've wanted to try patternmaking for over a year, but I finally feel ready to actually try making a pattern. I can work on patternmaking between garments. I enjoy having a long term project to work on at my leisure. And I do mean long term … I have no idea when (or if) I will finish this. My goal is to draft a simple, button-up short sleeve shirt. Yes, I know there are dozens of patterns for simple, button-up short sleeve shirts, but I want the challenge and the learning experience. I'll feel very proud if the result looks like a simple button-up short sleeve shirt when I'm finished.